BENTON — The Benton Lady Panthers picked up another conference win Wednesday, defeating El Dorado 8-1 at home.
However, coach Eric Ryan said as far as their standing in the conference is concerned, everything is still up in the air.
“We are just trying to get through and get ready for state,” Ryan said. “We want to try to play the best ball we can and whatever happens, happens.
“But we just have to keep going, improving and working hard.”
The Lady Panthers scored four runs in the third inning, three runs in the fourth and one in the sixth while El Dorado scored their only run in the top of the seventh.
Benton’s Hailey Durham hit a two-run double in the top of third to give Benton a 2-0 lead. The hit scored both Kori Parker and Kara Franklin, who reached on back-to-back walks to begin the inning.
An error, a passed ball and a RBI single by Brandi Barnes allowed for two more runs to give the Lady Panthers a four-run lead. Barnes had three hits in the game, all singles.
“We came out focused and got back into the groove,” Ryan said. “When they got going, they fed off each other. You could see the attitude change in the dugout.”
Benton picked up three more runs in the fourth thanks to Franklin’s two-run double to plate Parker and Bailey LeVart, who hit a single and a double, respectfully.
Franklin scored on a RBI ground out by Jessica Hardig.
“I felt like we hadn’t missed a game,” said Ryan, referring to the fact that Benton hadn’t played a game since April 27.
A double by Durham in the bottom of the sixth inning scored Parker, who reached on a walk to begin the inning.
Jessica Smith pitched all seven innings, allowing just one run (unearned) on four hits with three strikeouts. Besides giving up the one run in the seventh, the only other time she ran into trouble was in the first when she gave up back-to-back walks with two outs.
Smith would get out of the jam by striking out the next batter on a called third strike.
“I thought Jessica came out and did a great job,” Ryan said. “I thought the defense played well behind her.”
Senior TIffani Pledger had one hit in four trips to the plate, and LeVart had a double, walk and run scored. Parker was 1-2 with three runs and two walks.
Franklin was 2-3 with two runs scored, a walk and a RBI. Durham was 2-4 with three RBIs and a run scored. Hardig had a single, one RBI and a run scored.
Laikin Davis had a single and Drew Melton had an infield single.
The Lady Panthers will host Lake Hamilton at 4:30 p.m. today.